Star Log 2022-10-04 Morning (Fairbanks, AK, US)

OpenWeather forecasted clear skies in the early morning hours, so I decided to get up about 2am AKDT and do some star gazing. When I got outside about 2:30am, there was some mild green Aurora swirls. I was told by others that there were some spectacular displays a few hours earlier, so it looks like I saw the tail end of that.

I spent about the first hour setting up and working with the PowerSeeker 127EQ which I had borrowed. I'm sad to say that, targetting some of the brightest stars in the sky, I was only able to see a few dim dots with poor clarity. I'm not quite sure what is going on at this point. I cleaned the main mirror, but I didn't check the angled mirror, so perhaps that one is gunked up as well. It seemed like maybe my magnification was too high as well, but I was using only a K20 eyepiece, which I think would translate to a pretty low magnification, used with a 127mm aperature. It would be nice to send the unit off for servicing, but I wonder if that would be much less expensive in the end than the cost of a new one.

After giving up on that, I fell back to the 10x50 binoculars and had a good 1.5 hours of star gazing. I decided to make a first stab at doing my own detailed pencil drawings. I had a comfortable angle and view of (1) Orion's Belt, (2) Orion's Sword, and (3) the Taurus constellation, so I focused on those. Incidentally, Mars was nearby and very bright — I woudl like to take a look at that with my refractor, after the high mag lenses finally arrive in a few weeks.

The drawings were kind of rough, but we all have to start somewhere. I made the drawings, made copies, and then scribbled on the star designations:

Notebook 2022 October 4th Morning

Here is an overview screenshot showing the constellation positions:

Orion's Belt, Orion's Sword, and Taurus

Here is a Stellarium screenshot very similar to what I saw of Orion's Belt:

Orion's Belt 10x50

An interesting feature of Orion's Belt is that top-right bright star, delta Ori (Mintaka), which is listed as an "eclipsing binary system, double star".

Here is Orion's Sword:

Orion's Sword 10x50

Viewing it directly with the eyes, the two center stars are easier to distinquishm than in the Stellarium screenshot. This is because we actually see the stars as bright point sources, whereas Stellarium has to represent brightness by drawing the stars into wide discs.

While I didn't draw it in my notebook, I clearly remember being able to see a slight glow at the center, which was the glow of the Great Orion Nebula. The are a lot of features in the Sword which would be great to explore on future nights.

I also focused on the field around Aldebaran, the bright star in Taurus:

Aldebaran, Hyades Open Cluster, and nearby stars

There are some objects here which I would like to look into more — lots of pulsating, variable, and/or double stars to be found. There are some interesting shapes as well, like the bracket of stars (θ1 Tau, θ2 TAu, 80 Tau, and 81 Tau) surrounding OCC 9092.

Proxied content from gemini://

Gemini request details:

Original URL
Status code
Proxied by

Be advised that no attempt was made to verify the remote SSL certificate.